Monday, March 9, 2015

The Streak Is Over! Predators Get Back In the Win Column With Victory Over the Coyotes

The Nashville Predators traveled to Gila River Arena to take on the Arizona Coyotes in a game they desperately needed to win. A six game losing streak has seen the the Predators fall back to the pack in the Central Division and relinquish their top spot in the NHL

It wasn't easy, but the Predators captured a 2-1 overtime victory over the Coyotes.

It wasn't easy at all.

Despite firing 32 shots at Louie Domingue in regulation, the Predators could only find the net once as Paul Gaustad slapped a puck inside the post.

The Coyotes tied the game in the third period on the power play as a shot from John Moore was going well wide of the net but hit Kyle Chipchura's skate and was lofted over the glove of Pekka Rinne.

In the overtime period, the Predators had the only 6 shots taken, and it was the last one from James Neal that was the game winner. He gathered in a shot that had been blocked in the slot and fired the puck home to end that awful 6 game losing streak.

Some observations:

  • Viktor Stalberg was recalled and in the line up tonight. He was on a line with Mike Santorelli and Matt Cullen. Stalberg has all the physical tools, and it sure would be great to see him get his game going. He could add some pop to the Predators offense if his game starts to step up.
  • Finally! That horrific streak of 11 games giving up the first goal is finally over. Paul Gaustad's third goal of the season was the first tally of the game and the first time in what seemed forever that the Predators have had a lead in a game. Getting that particular monkey off the back of this team has got to be helpful.
  • Once again, the Predators have no hockey luck. A shot well wide of the net caroms off Kyle Chipchura's skate and past Pekka Rinne for a goal. That was a power play goal set up by James Neal taking a double minor for high sticking.
  • The Predators power play has got to start converting with some consistency. The unit did improve somewhat in that they got some shots on net, but goodness, if this unit cannot find some consistency and get some pucks in the net, then we will continue to struggle in games. Tonight, the Predators were 0-5 with the man advantage.
  • Maybe it is just me, but it seems that Filip Forsberg is pressing a bit. No doubt he possesses elite skills, but there are times where passing to a teammate instead of trying to carry the puck alone would be the wiser course of action.
  • I liked the jump that the Predators brought to the game tonight. The were energetic and moving well in the offensive zone. They just need to finish some of the quality chances that they had, but this is the kind of offensive effort that should bolster the confidence of the team.
  • The Predators were not as good in the faceoff circle as they have been recently. They won 28 of 57, just under 50%.
  • The Predators out hit the Coyotes 46-32 and blocked 20 shots, both indicative of the effort the team brought to the rink tonight.
Goodness gracious, it feels good to stop that losing streak1

Now that we have stopped it, we have to build on this win and start piling up some points.

This is a good first step.

My three stars:

1. James Neal

2. Pekka Rinne

3. Louie Domingue

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